Some upcoming Michael Wood talks

Hi all!

We thought you might be interested in some of Michael’s talks coming up in the next few weeks.


April 5th

Michael is doing a talk at St Botolph’s Hall, Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3TL titled ‘In Search of Shakespeare’

Tickets cost £5

“The BBC presenter and author of In Search of Shakespeare will give his own personal interpretation of the life and works of William Shakespeare in this talk based on his detailed experience and passion for the plays and poems alongside his extensive research into the biography of the historically elusive playwright.”

Find out more:


April 11th

The Battle of Brunanburh: new light on an old mystery, with Michael Wood at the University of Liverpool.

“Join film-maker and historian, Michael Wood, as he sheds light one of the most famous events of the Viking Age, the Battle of Brunanburh. 

In 937 AD a Viking and North British coalition led by Olaf Guthfrithson, King of Dublin, invaded England, only to be defeated by the Anglo-Saxon King Æthelstan at a place called Brunanburh. The site of this decisive battle is still unidentified, but over the last 40 years a consensus has grown amongst historians that it was located on the Wirral Peninsula. 

Reviewing the evidence from texts, coins and place names, and setting the war in the context of the politics of the North Sea and North Britain in the Viking era, Michael Wood will offer a new perspective on arguably the most significant battle to have taken place in Britain in the five centuries before Hastings.”

Find out more:


April 18th

Michael is doing a lecture at the Royal Geographic society on The Story of China

“Illustrated with fantastic images and clips, Michael will reflect on some of the big themes that emerged from his travels around China in the making of his recent BBC 2 series.”

Find out more:


April 22nd

The Shakespeare Birthday Lecture – The Shakespeare Circle – Stratford-upon-Avon

“The Shakespeare Birthday Lecture, Friday 22 April at 4.00pm, The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon.
‘The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography’. Join Dame Margaret Drabble, Michael Wood, and Stanley Wells as they discuss Shakespeare’s intimate circle of family, friends and colleagues. How do their lives shed light on Shakespeare’s? Chaired by Paul Edmondson, and presented in collaboration with The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, and Cambridge University Press.  At the end of the lecture, there will be a special-guest appearance by poet Wendy Cope who will read her new series of Shakespeare poems, commissioned by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust for 2016.”
Tickets £10.00 adults /£8 concession (children/students/seniors and Friends of the SBT)
Find out more:

Recording a music track for ‘Story of China’.

A little behind the scenes action. Celebrated opera singer Hermione Wu joins our composer Howard Davidson to record a poem written by Li Qingzhao, an 11th Century poet for the Story of China soundtrack. Li Qingzhao was traveling to Dong Lai, where her husband had just taken a new official post. She was around 38 years of age. Penglai is a magical island where immortals live.
Here’s the translation of the poem, ‘A Farewell Letter to my Sisters’

Tears stain my silk robe with rouge and powder, as the song of farewell is repeated, thousands of times over.
I’m told the going is hard over these endless ranges of mountains that block the view.
In my lonely lodge I listen all night to the patter of the rain.
Regrets at parting drive my mind to distraction: I forget how full I filled your cups as I bade you adieu.
Be sure to send word when the wild geese pass.
After all Dong Lai is not so far off as Peng Lai.


Michael Wood Receives award from the Al-Khoei Foundation

We’re very pleased to say that Michael Wood received a special award on Saturday from the Al-Khoei Foundation, on the occasion of the international conference in London to mark the Foundation’s 25th anniversary. The Al-Khoei Foundation are a UN affiliated Muslim charity devoted to interfaith dialogue and human rights work, with whom Maya Vision has had long connections going back to our multi-award winning film Saddam’s Killing Fields (Saddam’s Latest War in the US). They were also kind enough to lend us a beautiful location in the US whist we were filming for our series ‘Sacred Journeys’.


Sacred Journeys wins a Christopher Award!

11182679_10206650486845595_4800846797935061656_oCongratulations to Team Sacred Journeys for another well-deserved award.

The Christopher Awards honour books, movies, and television that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.” The committee selected our film that tells the story of American wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan who travel to France to bathe in the sacred waters of Lourdes. We share this with Lourdes Volunteers, Leo Eaton, Anisa Mehdi, WGBH and especially the men and women who shared their story with us. Thank you. Your heroism and service have inspired us all.


Let’s raise a glass to Sappho!

!cid_ABCD880E-AC0D-4E9D-A870-CF9E797308F1A toast to all our wonderful contributors for the time and expertise they gave to the programme

We’ve received some fantastic press, both from the papers and from social media:

“Erudite and illuminating” – Sunday Times

“Fascinating. Mountford is splendidly knowledgeable and bursting with enthusiasm” – The Guardian

“Excellent collection of experts” – The Daily Mail

Here’s a few of the many tweets…Tweet_3  Tweet_5 Tweet_2 Tweet_1Tweet_4


The full programme will be available on iPlayer until June 5th. Watch it here. If you want to find out more, visit the BBC website for web exclusive footage and how the Sappho was realised.


It’s tonight!

Sappho_Postcard_8_JPEG‘Sappho: Love & Life on Lesbos’ is out on BBC Four tonight (Wed 9th) at 9pm!

Papyrologist Margaret Mountford goes in search of the true Sappho behind the 2600 years of myth and legend. The mysterious discovery of a lost papyrus sends Margaret on a journey to explore whether she was indeed the first lesbian, a priestess, prostitute, a stern schoolmistress or an aristocratic lady of leisure as has been alleged. She asks how each generation’s view of the archetypal liberated woman tells us as much about us and our fears and concerns as it does about her.

If you want find out more, here’s an interview Margaret herself did with the Sunday Times ahead of this evening’s broadcast:




Philip Taylor 1967 – 2015

Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor passed away suddenly and very unexpectedly on 27th March whilst editing our latest film on the poetess, Sappho. We had only known Philip for 6 weeks but in that time, he had become an integral part of the Maya Vision team and we are all deeply shocked and saddened by his passing. Philip was always cheerful, friendly and made time to help, teach and offer advice to everyone in the office on all aspects of life. Philip was interested in everything – from the latest technical developments in the TV world to how to make the best healthiest drink (sweet potato, carrot and ginger apparently!) which he generously shared with all of us. Quite apart from his renowned editing skills, it was his relentlessly positive attitude and calm presence that we all admired so much.

We held our first screening of the film for the BBC the afternoon before Philip died and everyone was delighted with what Philip had achieved in just four short weeks.  We are now working to finish what he started in his memory.

We all miss him desperately. Our thoughts are with Lalita, his wife and children, Sophie and Daniel.



The Story of China – Shoot 7

We are getting very excited for our new series The Story of China as Michael Wood and the crew are nearing the end of their seventh shoot out on location. This time they’re in Macau and Hong Kong – filming in the cities, at a temple festival in Zhoukou, and they’re even off to film on a junk boat tomorrow!

The Story of China will be shown on BBC Two from September. Expect more updates from now on, but in the meantime here’s a sneak peek of what they’re up to. Back in the Maya Vision office, we’re a little jealous to say the least!

The Story of China - Shoot 7



Fun filming Sappho on Lesbos!

Now in post-production for our new programme Sappho. Look out for it in BBC Four’s ‘Age of Heroes’ in April 2015.

More updates closer to the time, but for now here are some photos of our crew filming in beautiful Greece with the knowledgeable Margaret Mountford.

Filming on the beach in Lesbos with Margaret Mountford

Filming on the beach in Lesbos with Margaret Mountford

Pretentious or what?Cameraman Fred Fabre and director Jack MacInnes playing filmmaking!

Pretentious or what? Cameraman Fred Fabre and director                            Jack MacInnes playing filmmaking!

Attack of the drone!!!

Attack of the drone!!!

It's a Sapphie not a Selfie!

It’s a Sapphie not a Selfie!



Michael Wood on the Book of Rochester: Leafing through the Library

If I had to save one historical document from the whole of English history, it would not be Magna Carta – or even Domesday Book- but Textus Roffensis.’ Michael Wood, historian and broadcaster.

Michael Wood with the Textus Roffensis

Michael Wood with the Textus Roffensis

Michael Wood’s exploration of the famous Textus Roffensis (‘Book of Rochester’) comes as the first installment of Rochester Cathedral’s new initiative, Leafing through the Library, masterminded by Dr Jayne Wackett, MEMS, University of Kent. The cathedral’s manuscripts and early printed books will be shared and investigated online bi-monthly. Digital images from Rochester cathedral’s library will be accompanied by articles examining the content, context and significance of a wide variety of books including, amongst others, Henry VIII’s Great Bible, one of only thirty-five copies of the 1662 Sealed Book of Common Prayer, a 1744 navigation atlas and Isaac Newton’s observations.

Read Michael’s article here: